It’s easy to wax lyrical about the connection between Perth being the most isolated capital city in the world, and the consistent sonic uniqueness of bands from the western capital.
In a connected age, logic would suggest that given that the internet, a.k.a. the world, is at the fingertips of artists, djenty deathcore outfits can appear at random anywhere, anytime, and still sound like they’ve been plucked from the Arizona scene circa 2008.
Indeed, the deathcore template is something that many fans and critics alike find it easy to roll their eyes at, with predictable lyrical themes, musical ideas and imagery.
We’ll put it down to pure coincidence then that Perth’s Make Them Suffer continue to be unaffected by the bloated death/metalcore world, and find ways to consistently carve out their own unique space whenever they drop a new body of work.
“We’re certainly honing our skills as far as writing goes now, especially when it comes to dealing with melody”, says frontman Sean Harmanis, who has been the standard bearer throughout the group’s evolution from progressive moshers to the vastly more dynamic outfit they are today. Ironically, Make Them Suffer are closing in on a more marketable and catchy sound for their newest LP How To Survive A Funeral, but it doesn’t for one second feel like a plea for attention.
“Booka (keyboardist/clean vocalist) and I worked way harder this time at making it catchy and really mixing things up when it came to singing minor melodies over major chords and vice versa…and I’m even doing some more singing”, he says.
“I was really scared to go in and do some actual singing. That was a whole new thing for me as far as my work with this band goes and I still don’t really know how that’s going to work live.
“It was just a matter of getting in there and really enjoying the performance. I think that’s the key to executing something in the studio. Just perform it with the same passion that you would on stage, and when you’re trying something new it’ll always come out way better.”
New singles ‘Erase Me’ and ‘Drown With Me’ certainly see the collective dipping their toe into the more “accessible” side of the coin when it comes to the zone inhabited by the band.
“There are always going to be times in life where it just feels like the world caves in.”
However, as Harmanis explains, the identity of the act only ever exists in a certain area for a finite amount of time. There’s no false sense of this being the optimal space for Make Them Suffer.
“What you’re hearing there – it’s totally meant to be expanding the melodic side of things that we really began on Worlds Apart, but that’s just what we wanted to do for this one chapter this time around.
“We’ve been a band for over 10 years now, and every time we’ve done a record it’s been a new stylistic time for us….Neverbloom was obviously super death metal inspired, and so was Odd Soul, but that was far more of a storyline of a record.
“We’re always writing and thinking where we’re gonna move next – and to be honest, I’m finding myself drawn back towards those heavier sounds of Neverbloom, so we’ll have to see what happens in the future I guess.”
As alluded to by Harmanis, Make Them Suffer have never shied away from strong, unifying themes in each record; something that’s clearly presented in the title to their forthcoming release.
“How To Survive A Funeral really speaks into getting through the times when shit really hits the fan in life,” says Harmanis, a timely thought given the current state of the world (gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic at the time of writing).
“Over the past few years each of us in the band have gone through some pretty heavy shit, whether it be the mental health of us and our loved ones, seeing people being pushed to the brink of suicide… There are always going to be times in life where it just feels like the world caves in.
“We just wanted to explore how to live through that. Not necessarily with a happy ending, but rather getting on with the next day as you’re dealing with this stuff all around you.”
It might be their isolation from the rest of the world, it might be the fact that they’ve deconstructed and rebuilt themselves with each new release, but whatever the reason, it’s impossible not to be captivated by the sounds of Make Them Suffer, a band that have stayed on the grind without becoming formulaic in any way whatsoever.
How To Survive A Funeral will no doubt be another colorful addition to their already sprawling canvas, and we couldn’t be more excited to soak it in.